No Tier 5 Extension for 99ers: Unemployment Benefits Extension Subject to Amendments

The US Congress midterm elections were already finished but until now, no Tier 5 unemployment extension of benefits has been passed in the Congress. More so, the original unemployment extension entitled HR 4213 signed by President Obama last July is set to expire on November 30, 2010, which is less than two weeks from now.

Currently, the Congress is on a rush meeting on an unemployment extension bill called H.R. 6419 or the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act. This bill would extend the filing deadline for federal unemployment insurance programs for three months until February 28, 2011. It contains no revenue offsets and it would not create additional weeks for people who have exhausted all their benefits. Thus, it won’t be beneficial for the millions of 99ers who still cannot find jobs up until this moment. All the efforts put into rallies and signatures gathered in various petitions calling for a Tier 5 unemployment extension have been put into trash.

With the current unemployment extension of benefits set to expire 11 days from now, this particular unemployment extension bill has been put into urgency and is being considered under the so-called expedited “suspension of the rules” process, which does not allow for amendments or motions to recommit to further delay the bill’s passage. However, it requires a 2/3rds majority vote, so the Democrats will need all their members plus 35 Republicans to vote in favor. All in all, Democrats will be needing 290 votes for it to happen.

The initial votes by the House of Representatives have been finalized and the unemployment extension bill failed with a vote of 258-154 in favor of the Republicans. Although the Democrats can still bring this up again for a vote under regular order, it will be now be subject to amendments and a Republican motion to recommit. To view a list of votes who voted for “yes” and “no”, you can go here. In addition, if you are curious enough in the contents of the unemployment extension bill being voted in the Congress, you can find a full legislative text of if here.